I know the 'C' on everyone's mind at the moment is coronavirus, but another 'C', the original Big C, has been a worry for me for the last couple of months.
As most of you know, I suffered from bowel cancer twenty years ago. I had to undergo surgery and six months of chemotherapy after that, and luckily, apart from one or two minor niggles that I've been left with, I haven't had many problems since. I won't go into detail here as bowel habits aren't a very nice subject to discuss, but they're something we should all be aware of as any change can signify that all isn't well.
Back in February, I went to see my GP as I had a few concerns and she sent me to see a colorectal consultant on an urgent two week referral. From there I was given another urgent appointment, this time for a colonography, which is a type of CT scan. The preparation for the scan started the day before, I had to follow a special diet and swallow a contrast agent so that my bowel would show up. They would usually perform a colonoscopy but I'm unable to tolerate this more invasive procedure due to adhesions from my surgery. I had this scan in March and just as I was expecting the results, the country went into lockdown.
I've spent a lot of time on the telephone over the last few weeks speaking to various people in a number of departments trying to chase up the results but as out-patient departments are now closed and so many admin and clinical staff are off work due to the coronavirus, or redeployed elsewhere, no-one could help. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would just have to wait for the results until all this is over. I tried to tell myself that no news is good news, but having heard of cancer patients having their treatment halted half way through, and other people who have been diagnosed with cancer just recently not even able to start on their treatment, there was still a gnawing worry in the back of my mind.
Even after twenty years, the anxiety of having had cancer never goes away. Having to have another scan and waiting for results took me straight back to 2001 after my treatment, when I sat in clinics and out-patient departments, waiting to be told if the cancer had gone, was still there, or worse still, had spread. For many years afterwards I had regular check-ups and the same old feelings would return. I only have to catch a whiff of the surgical tape which was used to hold cotton wool on my arm where a needle had been inserted, to be taken back to the ward where I had my chemo, or a letter dropping through the letterbox on hospital headed notepaper to get those butterflies in my stomach, so to speak. There's so many little things which evoke traumatic memories from this time.
After finally admitting defeat, there was no-one at the hospital who could give me my results, a letter eventually dropped on the doormat, nearly six weeks since I had the colonography, telling me that the scan has 'not shown any serious or concerning large bowel pathology'. I can't tell you what a weight off my mind this is. They did say that there was a 'relevant incidental finding outside the colon', but I won't go into that here. Suffice to say, it's nothing connected to the reason I was sent for tests in the first place and nothing life-threatening, but will be followed up as an out-patient in a different department once clinics are open again.
It's been a turbulent couple of months, what with my dad being in hospital at the time of my hospital appointments and then the lockdown coming in to force. At least this is one less thing to stress about now, and my dad seems to be managing at home at the moment, though I hope by saying this I'm not tempting fate. There's always something to worry about, or at least there is for me, I'm a born worrier.
Glad to hear you've finally got the results & they are clear. I know you are a born worrier, so I'm hoping the anxiety lessens & you cn enjoy some warmer weather, even though you can't venture very far. Take care, stay safe and huggles.ReplyDelete
I'm glad you received the letter, it will hold back the fears and dark thoughts. Often when I speak to anyone having chemo, my hand will ache along my veins. You can't live your life worried about if it will come back, but if anything feels wrong, the feelings are there. This year is my 10th year free and like you I hope we and loads of others stay free to live full lives.ReplyDelete
It must have been such a worry for you, Jo, so I can understand how relieved you must have been to receive the letter advising you of the results. I hope the 'relevant finding' can be dealt with quickly once hospitals are under less pressure. XReplyDelete
Glad to hear it's not back - can only begin to imagine how worried you must have been xReplyDelete
Thank goodness it's positive news, Jo. My sister had kidney cancer a few years ago, she's nervous every time she has to go for checks, I guess that worry never leaves you.ReplyDelete
That's a relief, there's enough to worry about at the moment without the added complications of a reoccurrence and all the accompanying trauma. I'm so pleased to hear your good news.ReplyDelete
I'm glad to see that you finally got to know the results. It's certainly not the time for worries like that but understandable given present events.ReplyDelete
Take care. xx
Oh, Jo how awful :( I'm so glad your results have been able put your mind at ease. My dad is also on his own, but we keep in touch and he's to phone us if he feels unwell at any time of day or night. He's quite stubborn and doesn't want shopping or anything doing; he wants to get out, so we have stressed how very careful he must be when he goes out. It really is a scary and uncertain time we're in. Take care. Best, Jane xReplyDelete
I'm glad to hear that you eventually got the letter with the results. With everything on hold in the hospital you don't know what to think when you've had cancer and something else has needed investigation. My annual screening in June won't happen and although the last ones have been clear and I continue with medication you always have a worry at the back of your mind that the cancer could return and nothing can be done whilst we are going through this terrible health crisis. I've thought of phoning the local Cancer Care helpline just to chat to someone who will listen and understand, but I expect they're also busy.ReplyDelete
I'm so pleased for you, I really am. I'm trying hard not to worry about my own situation. As you know I had urgent surgery last week and I received a letter today to inform me I'm to have a telephone review at my home next week. I am really anxious about that I don't mind telling you. You've been brave blogging about your fears and I hope the unrelated finding will be quickly dealt with.ReplyDelete
What a relief for you, Jo. I'm so glad you got the letter so you can stop worrying about it. Stay safe!ReplyDelete
I am so glad that you managed to get the results and they weren't as bad as anticipated. I can only imagine the worry that you have been through. Take care Jo and stay strong.ReplyDelete
It is such a worry to have something like this hanging over you. I do feel for those people whose treatment is on hold. I am pleased that you had reasonably good news - extra stress is the last thing you need at a time like this.
Thanks for sharing this post. It sounds like you had bowel cancer at the same time as my Dad. It's definitely a subject which needs talking about. I must admit, I struggle with the prep rather than the camera when it comes to colonoscopies!ReplyDelete
I can only imagine how things have been for you over the last couple of months, it is always difficult waiting for news, but when it could be bad news. I do not know how you have managed to get through it all. Hopefully you can relax a little now. XReplyDelete
This must have been such a worry for you, I'm glad you finally got the letter and it's taken a weight off your shoulders xReplyDelete
I am so sorry to hear that you have had this worry on your mind for the past weeks. I am so glad to hear that you have received a letter telling you that the cancer has not returned that must be such a relief for you. I do hope that the relevant incidental finding can be dealt with sooner rather than later. xxReplyDelete
Made my day reading this positive news for you amidst all the recent sadness and worrying times. The waiting and anxiety is not a nice experience for anyone. Love and blessings to you Jo. XReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing this.ReplyDelete
I am just so pleased that the results eventually came through and they weren't as bad as you had anticipated.
Talk about a worrying time for you, not easy at all.
Do please take care.
Sending my good wishes.
All the best Jan
Oh I am so relieved for you!!! That is just too long to wait for such news. I will say prayers of thanksgiving ..my favorite kindReplyDelete
I am glad that it was positive news, waiting for results is a stress all of it's own. Wishing you days of calm and joyful sewing. xReplyDelete
What a worrying time for you, thank goodness that letter eventually arrived to let you know the good news. So many things have been affected by this virus.ReplyDelete
Oh, you poor darling. So much worry on top of the anxiety that coronavirus has heaped on us all. Huge relief to get that letter . . .ReplyDelete
Stay safe, and take care. xx
My goodness, what an awful worrying time for you, but I´m so pleased you have had good news at last. take care xcxReplyDelete
Oh Jo! What a long time to wait for results. My hubby had cancer 3 times (all different types of cancers-non related) in 7 years and is now headed into his 5th year of being cancer free. He was Stage 4 when it was discovered so he was blessed to be cancer-free. That being said- I think it is always in the back of your mind- the 'what if' scenario. So glad that worry has been alleviated for you! Hugs and Stay Safe- xo DianaReplyDelete
I am so glad you got the results with good news, such a relief. I have been waiting for the results of a kidney scan for ages and ages, almost forgot about it but got a phone call the other day. All good. Have a lovely Sunday xReplyDelete
I'm so glad you got good results! Congratulations! The hospitals are such a mess right now! I had to have an ultrasound done just a few days before the lockdown went into place and the results never got to my doctor's office. I was pretty upset that they'd sent me for a "not an emergency but get it ASAP" ultrasound then didn't seem to care and made me track down the results when they went missing. Pretty frustrating. But enough about me. Once again, I'm very happy to hear you had good results.ReplyDelete
My dear Jo, I know exactly how you feel having battled cancer myself 20 years ago. The anxiety never goes away. Every time I have to get simple blood work I panic, what will they find? Will my white blood cell count be off? Why am I so tired, do I have cancer or am I just over worked? And all of this with your Dad, all these months you have worn yourself down to a frazzle. Staying sane right now is so difficult with all that is going on but with what you have been though I just can't imagine. I am sending you love, positive thoughts and thoughts of gratitude that you are well. Hang in there my friend.ReplyDelete
Waiting for results of medical tests is always an anxious time - I’m glad the news was good.ReplyDelete
I'm so glad that your news was good news and so sorry that you had to wait so long to be reassured. I am a cancer survivor so I can identify with the angst your suffered. ((hugs))ReplyDelete
So pleased to read that despite there being something still to be addressed, the overall situation is good. It must have been terrible to wait and a weight taken away when the letter came.ReplyDelete
What a relief that must be! I am so incredibly happy for you XOXOReplyDelete
So glad you got the results though at last I know how long you have been waiting to get an answer, the waiting is terrible, hopefully that is a big weight off your mind now. xReplyDelete
So sorry, Jo, that you have had to be "put through the wringer" regarding the test results. It seems a bit inconsiderate on the hospital's part-6 weeks is a bit of a wait. But, the important bit is that you can rest easy now! 💖ReplyDelete
Wow, you've had such a lot on your plate. So glad you're coming through the other side. keep well.ReplyDelete
Oh Jo, I'm so glad the results came through and you can rest easy. I think we've all got enough on our plates without extra worry right now, a pandemic is more than enough.ReplyDelete
I hope the out patient appointment goes well.
Oh Jo, what a relief! I really feel for you having such a long wait, how horribly worrying!!! Good to know your dad is ok....touching wood.xxxxReplyDelete